photo by Aurelien
That's what Baybear said this morning on FDW while people were commenting last night's gig at the Royal Albert Hall. Of course, many interpretations could be given to that statement, but when it comes from Peter's manager, that statement surely gets a lot of attention. But let's not rush things. The rescheduled "Pete Doherty solo gig at the Royal Albert Hall with many guests" first of all lacked... many guests. My bad. Apart from the opening acts (Sallon and the Thirst), who played on their own, Peter was joined on the stage by 1) Peter Wolf, 2) ... Mik Whitnall. Cough. So, whoever was expecting a second edition of the last year's first night at Hackney (of course nobody was expecting Carlos - bar a few morons) was left a bit let down. Only a bit though, because the greatest star was up there on the stage.
However, to me the major fault of the night was not the lack of relevant guests, nor Peter's not-excessively-brilliant-guitar-playing, nor the stage invasion either; it was the venue. The Royal Albert Hall might be alluring, might be suggestive, but it's not a place where I'd like to see my fave bands. If Peter's new era sees him more as a crooner than as a rock'n'roll animal, will places like that be the ideal environment for him? I don't think so.
Having said that, the show was rather fantastic. Peter was on top form. He played lots of songs from the past and only a few numbers from Shotters Nation, plus a cover of Country Joe and the Fish (I Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die Rag - a classic from the 1969 Woodstock festival). The stage invasion got a little bit out of hand but it's not something we haven't witnessed before. Adam and Paul Roundhill were seen in the crowd. Nearly all the songs can be seen on youtube.
Now, what's next? Is this really the start of a new era? And what does this imply? The end of Babyshambles? A new band? A new record? A new haircut? I reckon Peter should go back to playing small places, and as much as I love hearing Waterloo or The Good Old days or Time for Heroes once again I think there's also the need of fresh material. And maybe a new musical direction? Only time will tell.
Setlist from Alicepooh: Lady don’t fall backwards, Bollywood to Battersea, Time for Heroes, Carry on Up the Morning, Can’t Stand Me Now, East of Eden, French Dog Blues, Likely Lads, You’re My Waterloo, Tell the King, There She Goes, Ha Ha Wall, Side of the Road, Back from the Dead, Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die Rag, What a Waster, Arcady, Vertigo, Death on the Stairs, Beg Steal Borrow, For Lovers, Music When the Lights Go Out, Unstookietitled, Fuck Forever, Unstookietitled outro Suicide in the Trenches, Albion, I Wish.